Born in 1944 and raised in Arlington, Virginia, Paul Wellstone was the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia.
As sixteen, Paul met Sheila Ison at the Maryland shore. They dated during high school and married in 1963. They were married for 39 years.
Paul went to the University of North Carolina and focused on both academics and athletics. In 1965, he graduated from UNC after three years of study, and Sheila gave birth to the first of their three children. By age 20, Wellstone was a champion wrestler, husband, father, and college graduate.
Paul went on to get his PhD in political science from UNC, then moved to Minnesota, becoming a teacher, community organizer, political campaigner, and United States senator.
Sheila Ison Wellstone was born in 1944 in Kentucky, the daughter of Southern Baptists.
In the summer of 1963, Paul and Sheila married. The family moved to Northfield, Minnesota, when Paul accepted a teaching position at Carleton College. For twenty years, Sheila dedicated herself to raising their three children — David, Marcia, and Mark — and working as an aide in the Northfield High School library.
When Paul won election to the Senate in 1990, Sheila began developing her own skills in politics and public policy.
But as passionate as Sheila was for her work, her family always came first. She was a loving mother, and her 39 year marriage to Paul was uncommonly strong.
Marcia Wellstone Markuson
Marcia Wellstone Markuson, 33, was the second of Paul and Sheila Wellstone’s three children. Born and raised in Northfield, Minnesota, Marcia earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of ‘Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree in education from Hamline University. For 11 years, Marcia taught Spanish at White Bear Lake High School, where she was one of the school’s best-liked teachers. As she became more involved in her father’s 2002 campaign, Marcia gained recognition for her own formidable political skills. In addition to her interest in education and politics, Marcia was an accomplished athlete and marathon runner. She is survived by her husband Todd Markuson, son Joshua Kerner, and three stepchildren, Mart, Acacia, and Sydney.
Will McLaughlin was Paul Wellstone’s traveling campaign aide, a job that put him at Wellstone’s side at nearly all campaign events. Will was an up-and-coming leader who shared Wellstone’s passion for public service. One of nine children, Will grew up in St. Paul and learned about politics from his mother and father, Judy and Mike McLaughlin, both prominent political activists. After graduating from Saint Thomas Academy, Will went to the University of Minnesota where he continued to develop his leadership skills as President of his Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. Funny, energetic, and intensely loyal, Will was only 23 when his life was cut short.
Mary McEvoy was an accomplished educator, organizer, and political strategist. As a professor of child development at the University of Minnesota, she was a nationally recognized advocate for children and had a passion for helping kids get a strong start in life. As the Associate Chair of the DFL Party, she was a voice for women and minorities and a champion of grassroots organizing. As one of Sheila Wellstone’s closest friends and advisors, she was a constant presence on the campaign trail. Mary joined Wellstone’s 1996 campaign as a full-time travel aide to Sheila Wellstone, the same role she was serving in 2002, Known for her energy and sense of humor, Mary was enormously popular with her peers and colleagues, and inspired many young people to get involved in politics. She is survived by her husband Jamie Cloyd and three children, Clare, Becca, and Luke.
Tom Lapic was one of Paul Wellstone’s longest-serving senior advisors. Calm, unassuming, and reassuring, he is remembered as a perfect balance to Wellstone’s fiery personality. As the deputy director of Wellstone’s state office in St. Paul, Tom was a skilled writer and organizer, and one of Wellstone’s most valuable advisors yet he never sought attention for himself. A former seminarian, he had a deeply felt dedication to public service and a compassion for people in need. Tom was a loyal friend and a devoted husband of Trudy Lapic.